- Autores: Dias S, Gama A
- Ano de Publicação: 2014
- Journal: Revista Panamericana de Salud Publica
- Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24781097
A change in the research paradigm towards a method that more readily allows the translation of scientific knowledge into more community-oriented health actions and policies has been advocated in the field of public health. Special attention has been paid to community-based participatory research, which has the potential to allow the production of deeper knowledge of complex health issues. The present essay reflects on the contributions of participatory research in health, analyzing its theoretical perspectives, principles, and strengths. Some key aspects relating to the implementation of participatory research are also examined, underscoring possible strategies to face this challenge. Participatory research integrates a collaborative approach with involvement of communities, professionals, political decision-makers, and academics to produce knowledge, incorporating the different perspectives and experiences of these stakeholders. This approach facilitates acceptance of the project and engagement of communities, and consequently enhances the quality of the data collected. Participatory research may work in and of itself as an intervention: the involvement of communities may increase their awareness about the importance of the research themes and serve as training to define and address health issues, promoting empowerment. Nevertheless, researchers face challenges in applying this approach. Such challenges are related to the establishment and maintenance of research partnerships, the sharing of decision-making control, and the reconciliation of the motivations and interests of partners. More evidence regarding the process of implementation of participatory research will strengthen the method’s theoretical framework and provide further understanding regarding its potential and limitations to address various problems, contexts, and populations, and clarify its beneficial role for communities.